HOLLYWOOD─It is a new take on a TV classic, but it’s not as fun as one would think. I’m referring to “Fantasy Island” which is a place where one’s dreams can come true, but in this horror interpretation it’s where nightmares become reality. The premise follows five people who are brought to the island to live out their greatest fantasies, after winning a contest. How original?
From there, our guests Gwen (Maggie Q), Melanie (Lucy Hale), J.D. (Ryan Hansen), Patrick (Austin Stowell) and Brax (Jimmy O. Yang) start to reveal what their deepest fantasies are and the island starts to bring those fantasies to life. These characters all have issues, Gwen reflecting on a love lost, Patrick coming to grips that he is not a hero, Melanie dealing with the aftermath of bullying as a teen, JD and Brax just wanting it all in life. Seems typical, but on this island your fantasies become reality, and if you don’t live out the entire fantasy the consequences can be dire.
Here is the problem with “Fantasy Island:” it tries too hard to be clever. First, you have five separate stories that are not easy to follow. Second, the script tries to weave all those stories as one, but it seamlessly doesn’t work. The stories are not intriguing and that is the problem. If there was something, anything of relevance to any of these five tales to lure the viewer that may have worked in the film’s favor, but the viewer does not get that.
Third, the characters are not that fascinating for us to even care about them. I mean Michael Pena as the mysterious, yet somewhat villainous Mr. Roark, was a complete yawn. This movie is nowhere close to be a horror flick. There is nothing scary about it at all. Not once did I want to scream or tense up watching this flick. It’s more like a thriller that does not fully have the thrills to back up its premise.
There is indeed a nice twist at the end that tries to tie things up, but by that time I didn’t even care about the movie and that could be the direct result of the pacing. “Fantasy Island” drags and I mean it really drags as a movie. About 40 minutes in, I was under the impression that the movie might have another 20-30 minutes at most before reaching its climax. Nope, this movie goes for another hour before it concludes. It feels like a good 15-20 minutes of the narrative should have been scrapped to expedite the pacing for the story.
I could not recommend this movie even if I wanted to. “Fantasy Island” will bore the audience, so much to the point that I nearly fell asleep. If you think this version will be a heightened version of the TV classic, let me give you a piece of advice, stick with the TV show. This big screen adaptation might be one of the second worst films I’ve seen this year since the second remake of “The Grudge.”